Could asbestos be making a comeback?

Last year, workers began removing asbestos from the tower and surrounding buildings at Martin Tower in Bethlehem. - (Photo / Brian Pedersen)

Recent articles show the federal Environmental Protection Agency could be easing rules on including asbestos in some building materials and products.

Earlier this summer, the EPA introduced a “significant new use rule” that allowed the creation of new products containing asbestos on a case-by-case basis, according to an article from Fast Company that you can read here.

The EPA listed asbestos as a known human carcinogen in the National Toxicology Program’s first annual report on carcinogens way back in 1980, according to the agency’s website. In 1988, the EPA determined a link between asbestos exposure and lung cancer and mesothelioma, another type of cancer.

It’s odd to think that same agency would now allow companies to use toxic chemicals such as asbestos, which has been widely banned as a building insulation in most countries since the 1970s, as this Architects Newspaper article reports, which you can read here.

However, architects do have power in determining what building materials to use and could influence the products manufacturers produce, according to the Architects Newspaper.

I hope that they will use their skills and abilities to select products that won’t harm the people who occupy their buildings. Hopefully, cooler and saner heads will prevail.

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